One of my favourite coinages by backcombed digital prophet David Shing is the word mocal. If Silicon Valley whimsy, thought leadership and the ineptitude of a thousand marketing agencies could be summed up in one word, then this was it. Mocal. Try saying it aloud. Feel the pain and existential despair overwhelm you. David Shing gets paid over $100,000 per year to do this…
And yet maybe hes on to something, because when you try out Tapastreet, a Dublin-based app fusing image search with geolocation, you start to see why local and mobile are so perfectly suited to each other. Tapastreet is an app for smartphones and tablets which allows you to search for a street or area, and collect image and video content from different social platforms in real time. You can track different hashtags and locations, and share what you find seamlessly to social media.
Its one of those things you could quite easily accomplish with time and effort, searching across Twitter and Instagram, but the apps design makes it a joy to use, particularly on a tablet. If youre one of the generation who grew up learning about different places by stalking Flickr accounts, then youll immediately get the appeal of Tapastreet as a way of learning about a place beyond the standard combination of Lonely Planet and Google Maps street view.
Similarly, if you travel a lot and dont have time to read up on where youre going, Tapastreet will be useful. That said, the platform is supposed to aggregate social media channels, but looking at its current, sparsely-populated map of Dublin its hard to believe thats all thats been uploaded. Its St. Patricks Day when I try it out, and all I see is a few closeups of Guinness and a shot or two of our lit-up-green landmarks. Id love to know the time limits on these images are they only from the last 24 hours? How real is real-time? And which social networks are being mined? At present, theres not enough content to actually tap a street and specify the search in such detail: only regional searches (Dublin, London etc) yield results. Still, the app is relatively new, and gaining traction daily. If more people begin to use it, its easy to see those maps filling out with a more diverse and detailed view of each city.
What Tapastreet has in its favour, too, is a beautifully simple and intuitive UX. Its team, former Googler Dave Johnson, ex-Intel employee Joe Mitchell and angel investor Kathryn Tunney, have done a marvelous job of keeping the app simple and easily sharable with social networks. If the goal is to cut through the clutter of social media, streamlining it into purely visual results, then theyve succeeded.
And theyre already gaining fans, securing funding from EI and Kernel Capital and collaborating with the Dublin Science Gallery and the UK Met Office. Theyre also involved in a joint research project with Trinity College and The Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA), the results of which will benefit the app.
The view might be limited for now, but if an appearance at SXSW Interactive this year is anything to go by Tapastreet, is very much on the rise, and its only a matter of time until they’re officially on the map.